Chairman of the National Insurance Board (NIB), Ian Gooding-Edghill, has dismissed as a “malicious” rumour a viral social media message that the National Insurance Scheme’s (NIS) invalidity benefit has been converted to a pension.
Speaking on Down to Brasstacks this morning, he slammed the rumour as being “politically motivated”.
“I was made aware of this salacious and malicious comment being circulated on social media, which says that the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) has altered benefits.
“Let me be clear, the National Insurance has not altered any benefits within its benefits portfolio. We never considered it, never discussed it and furthermore the National Insurance does not alter benefits,” Gooding-Edghill said.
Offering further proof that the social media posting was baseless, the NIB chairman pointed out that the calculations of the benefits portfolio are fixed and cannot be unilaterally changed by the board.
“The payment of benefits is calculated by the rate of insurable earning. So, for anybody to suggest otherwise is untrue.
“The public should be mindful that National Insurance has governance protocols and there are laws and regulations. So, you can’t just get up one morning and alter benefits just like that.
“Additionally, the last time I checked insurable earnings do not go down but rather it operates in reverse, in an upward cycle. So for anybody to suggest that the National Insurance is participating in anything to alter the benefits to the insured population, is untrue.”
The social media posting, which caused some concern some among trade unions, suggested that the Accountant General was working with the NIB to facilitate the alleged process of merging the two portfolios.
But Gooding-Edghill stressed that while he cannot speak for the Accountant General, no such suggestion has come across his desk.
“I can’t speak on behalf of the Accountant General because that is a separate entity. I can speak on behalf of the National insurance, which I have the honour to lead.
“I can categorically state that the National Insurance Scheme has not even had any discussion with the Accountant General or any other person. We are not allowed to collude with any other entity, we have to run the board in relation to the business that is before it.”
He added: “The National Insurance Scheme continues to pay invalidity benefits as it continues to pay other benefits for the longest while and, as I would have said before, there is no change.”